Diocese of Portsmouth

Anna Chaplaincy

Anna Chaplaincy – a ministry of the Christian charity BRF – has been established specifically to provide care for older people, especially those living in care homes and sheltered accommodation, and to their families and the staff that look after them. Anna Chaplains also promote the spiritual welfare of older people in the wider community, particularly those facing challenges living independently.

Bishop Jonathan made care for older people one of his two main priorities, in his presidential address at the April 2022 meeting of our Diocesan Synod, aiming to create a network of Anna Chaplains across the diocese. The first Anna Chaplain in our diocese was licensed on the Isle of Wight in 2021, and the second in April 2022 on the mainland.

The plan is to have an Anna Chaplain in every parish, benefice and cluster in our diocese. They are named after Anna, the widow and faithful older person who – together with Simeon – recognised the infant Jesus as the Messiah in the temple at Jerusalem.

The idea of Anna Chaplaincy was pioneered by former Meridian TV presenter Debbie Thrower and the concept was taken up by the Christian charity BRF. There are now dozens of Anna Chaplains across the UK.

As well as offering spiritual care to older people in care homes and the wider community, Anna Chaplains also have a role in helping the elderly to reflect on their spiritual journeys, to listen to the wisdom they have accumulated, and to advocate on their behalf in churches and local communities.

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